Monday, February 20, 2012

Attributing Modernism

Antonin Raymond, Summer House at Karuizawa, South and East Facades, Nagano Prefecture, Japan (1933) (Source: Kurt Helfrich and William Whittaker, eds. Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond (New York: Princeton Architectural Press), 155)

The idea of copying necessarily invokes problems of authorship. Before a quick-minded reader evokes Benjamin Franklin’s calls to “Imitate Jesus and Socrates”[1] or Ralph Waldo Emerson’s invective that the “imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity,”[2]  or even before any heart-wrenching calls that decry the loss of the “aura” in the face of rampant “mechanical reproduction” or “technical reproducibility”[3] can be made, I only offer the idea that a copy presupposes an author. There are two ways in which this can happen. On the one hand, there is the unauthorized copy, a canvas, novel, or piece of music that is actionable because it was not sanctioned by the original’s author. On the other hand, there is the authorized copy, the so-called “derivative work”[4] that merits its own recognition though it incorporates another author’s work. An example of this would be a translation of a foreign-language novel, or a scholar’s annotations to a previous work. Thus a copy also invokes a chronological lockstep: it summons or copies a piece of art that existed before. The actionable counterfeit, fake, or simulacra cannot exist without a previous source.

Copyright, patent, and trademark laws provide a series of useful cultural barometers that shed further light on authorship. These statutes contain some very important boilerplate language defining the deceptively simple question: what is copyrightable? The United States Copyright Acts of 1909 and 1976 maintain a tried and true formulation and affirm that a copyrightable work is an “original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.”[5] All the non-conjunction words in that definition have been the subject of countless litigations and exegeses in American and international jurisprudential circles. But for our purposes, the words “original” and “authorship” are of greatest importance. This is because though the author may be able to copyright an “original” work, he or she can also assign the right of that work to a third party. Should an author decide to copyright a derivative work, however, then he or she must recognize the copyrighted material that inspired the new material. This is done through attribution; quite literally, through quoting and giving cognizance to someone else’s work.[6]

A specific instance from Czech-American architect Antonin Raymond’s career in Japan may shed some important light on the architectural significance of attribution. Raymond’s Summer House and Studio in Karuizawa, Japan (1933), is one of the architect’s most well-known and critical successes. Built on a mountain retreat near the Karuizawa Golf Course, the house is nestled between a series of ponds and grassy berms. The house plan reveals a distinct emphasis on observing these landscapes. By ignoring the biaxial plan common to regional Japanese architecture, and by subsequently adopting a distinct asymmetrical scheme inherited from Weimar modernism, Raymond’s plan allows the house to take in different views of the landscape. The house also is not perpendicular to the plot of land, a strategy that allows for a maximized view of the surroundings.

The desired effect, if not of a house that blends into its immediate surroundings, is then of a project that at least indexes the region via a carefully deployed articulation of material flourishes and tectonic strategies. Raymond used chestnut logs for the supporting structure as well as cedar for other structural elements as well as siding and other furnishings. The house’s metal roof is covered with branches of Japanese larch, which not only protect the roof from heat, but also deaden the sound of frequent summer rains. The house’s interior provides more evidence of what Fritz Neumeyer calls a “viewing machine,” a “set of frames and sequential spaces” that emphasize the role of the observer.[7] The house circulation patterns center around a main living room and fireplace, an area opening up into double-height spaces and allowing an unobstructed view of the surrounding countryside.

Yet the elision between inside and outside is only one of a set of binary oppositions that characterize Raymond’s project. Although the building’s foundations are of poured concrete, they also feature the use of local woods and other strategies that “mask” an otherwise European building into the rolling, grassy berms of Nagano prefecture. At a glance, the regional vestments literally dressing the Karuizawa house exemplify Raymond’s “initial idea of an architecture unified with its regional landscape and culture … an ideal that transcended the context of an individual country” yet was “deeply connected to these settings.”[8] In the end, this combination of disparate elements and inspirations, combined in a single, small-scale domestic project, emphasized Raymond’s “self-conscious understanding and appreciation of these materials to compose the poetics of ‘country life’ and ideals of the ‘natural’ and the ‘country.’”[9]

(Top) Le Corbusier, drawings of Mattias Errázuris House (1929-1930) (Source: Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Oeuvre Complète de 1929-1934, Willy Boesiger, ed. (Zurich: Les Editions d’Architectures, 1964 [7th ed.]), 48.
(Bottom) Raymond’s Karuizawa House, as it appeared in Le Corbusier’s Oeuvre Complete (Source: Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Oeuvre Complète de 1929-1934, 52)

Except for material flourishes, such concerns were not far from Le Corbusier’s mind when he was busy conceptualizing the Mattias Errázuris house (1929-1930). He designed the project for a coastal resort in Zapallar, Chile, a small town on nestled between the tall escarpments of the Andes Mountains, and the ultramarine hues of the Pacific Ocean. Like Raymond, Le Corbusier sought to create circulation spaces that allowed the residents to partake in these stunning landscapes. Yet the similarities between these two projects do not end there. A comparison between one of Le Corbusier’s renderings of the Errázuris House and the interior spaces of Raymond’s Karuizawa House and Studio will reveal some uncanny similarities. In addition to a double-height ceiling, both featured circulation ramps (reminiscent of the promenade ramps from the Villa Savoye) and a distinct preference for local materials. The floors of the Errázuris House were also of local woods, and a series of sparse cross-hatching on the walls suggest the use of local stone.

And when Raymond published photographs of the Karuizawa House in a November 1935 issue of Architectural Forum, Le Corbusier noticed. A review of Raymond’s 1935 monograph, Antonin Raymond: His Work in Japan, 1920-1935 in the same issue criticized the Karuizawa House for its less-than-subtle nod to the Errázuris House. The negative criticism both stung and bewildered Raymond. In a letter to the editor of Architectural Forum, he countered, “I feel … that you lay too much stress on the question of the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and Corbusier on my work at the expense of those vital qualities which make it valuable. Even to speak of the Japanese influence in my work is to see the truth only from a superficial angle. There is a strong Japanese influence in my work, but it is one of spirit and not of form … Should we be too afraid of precedent or influence we could do nothing at all.  It does not matter from where we take anything but what we do with it.”[10] Le Corbusier was equally astonished at the Karuizawa House, so much so that (in addition to accusing Raymond of plagiarism) he was inclined to feature a picture of Raymond’s work along side his own in the third edition of the Oeuvre Complete (1935). Le Corbusier makes note of this in a May 1935 letter to Raymond, written shortly before the two architects resolved their differences:
Dear Sir:  
I have received your letter of April 8th, which I found upon my return from a trip abroad. 
I am pleased to hear from you. Please be assured that there is no bitterness between us, but — as you yourself say — you made a slight mistake, that is, you neglected to send me a note when you published the images of your Tokyo house, which is very pretty by the way. I do not have time to read the journals that I receive; I just laid eyes on the photographs, and since I have rather quick reactions – and since in addition, I was at that very moment in the process of dictating the captions for the book published by Boesiger – I seized that opportunity and introduced a little dig that would wake up the book’s readers. Incidentally, my note was not mean; on the contrary, it praises Japan for its technical achievements and you for the taste of your intervention. I would even go further, that is, you give such a pretty interpretation of my idea that page 52 of the Boesiger book is perhaps the prettiest of the whole volume. I will even extend my compliment further: if I allow all journals to publish my works, it is not in order for my ideas to remain buried in people’s drawers. On the contrary, it is for them to be of some use. Yet my designs are often copied very badly, very unskillfully, or very stupidly. This is where my compliment comes in: your interpretation of my drawings is quite witty, and this is a sincere compliment. I hope it will please you.
In any case, please be assured, dear Mr. Raymond, that I bear no grudges and am quite incapable of doing so. You may use as you like the note I am writing to you, for the end of your letter appears to call for some involvement on my part that I do not fully understand. It is now my turn to give you license to use the present letter in whatever manner will appear most pleasant to you.
Le Corbusier [11] 
One of the most remarkable things about this incident is Raymond’s and Le Corbusier’s casual attitude towards issues of authorship and plagiarism. Although Raymond’s attitude is a distant echo of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s claim that copying is unavoidable, he not only admits the Corbusian influence, but casts that issue aside in favor of the more pertinent issue of “spirit” and “form.” Le Corbusier also recognizes potential plagiarism, but in a brilliant masterstroke, he still wins by dint of his larger-than-life personality. The ability to print a small version of the Karuiazawa house along the Maison Errázzuris is a powerful gesture indeed: in lieu of being slighted by an upstart follower or devotee, Le Corbusier is still able convey the power of his creative spark and the breadth of his influence. Attribution, therefore, could be conceived as a measure of power and influence.

Though the architects summarily disposed of the issue of authorship and plagiarism, at least the subject came up. Litigation surrounding the copyrighting and patenting of modernist design continues to this day. But in the early 20th century, such adversarial lawyering did deal with some pertinent issues of the time, such as original versus copy, or form versus process.[12] Architects and designers in the 20th century tended to be a savvy lot, especially in legal and business matters. As a matter of fact, both Antonin Raymond and Konrad Wachsmann made prolonged efforts to patent their designs.[13]

Raymond, “Window Construction” U.S. Patent No. 2,282,885 (Filed June 23, 1939)

Antonin Raymond’s patents provide additional guidance on issues of attribution. On June 23, 1939, Raymond submitted a patent application for a “Window Construction," a type of window that allowed for “horizontal-moveable” sashes.[14] The patent abstract, in addition to stating why the invention is significant, states that the horizontal sash is a new type of architectural element that improves on window-making techniques.[15] This patent application is significant because it is in stark contradiction to his cavalier handling of the Errázuris house. Whereas Raymond seemed naïve in his claims that too much significance was made of the Karuizawa House’s overt Corbusian influences, here, he has not only found a specific architectural detail, but has also located one that is patentable and profitable.[16]

Raymond, Architectural Details (Tokyo: Kokusai Kenchiku Kyôtai, 1938)

It is significant that Raymond’s métier was to exacerbate a tension between the grand project of incorporating Japanese “spirit” and “form” into his designs and the didactic enumeration of building elements. The latter is especially poignant as it is the subject of Architectural Details, a book he co-authored with his wife Noémi in 1938. Consisting of 250 photographs and 530 measured drawings, Raymond considered the book as a vital contribution to modern architecture, consisting not of “abstract phrases, but also of actual work considered.”[17] Architectural Details also operated on the level of polemic: the layout of the book emphasized how traditional Japanese architectural elements could be utilized in modern architecture. Whereas the right-hand page contained Raymond’s measured drawings of roof, ceiling, and window details, the left-hand photographs showed such elements being used in contemporary buildings (some of which, like the Tokyo Golf Club House of 1931-1932, contained such details). It is worth noting, for instance, how pages 15 and 16 of Architectural Details not only show drawings of “horizontally-moveable” sashes, but also suggests that such sashes and window units are commonly used in the wood-sliding windows and shoji (sliding doors) in traditional Japanese construction.

Revere Brass and Copper Advertisement featuring Raymond’s Louis Stone House, The Saturday Evening Post (7 August 1943) (Source: Helfrich and Whitaker, eds., Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond, 54).

The enumeration of these architectural “details” and their subsequent economic potential and attribution potential becomes evident in an 1943 magazine advertisement for Revere Brass and Copper featuring Raymond’s Louis Stone House (1939), also known as the “tri-level” house. Published in The Saturday Evening Post, the advertisement is typical of those from the era. Under a black-and-white watercolor wash of the Louis Stone House is a heading stating “A Hillside Built this House: Copper and Brass Keep it Snug and Trim.” Beneath that is an extended quotation from Raymond that also suggests a binary opposition between larger design philosophies and the minutiae of everyday construction: in addition to abating “stiffness,” “falseness,” and “fussiness,” the ad makes a special note of copper used in roof-flashing and window screens. The ad also features a small profile of Raymond, who implores the reader, “I urge you to send to Revere for a free booklet with complete plans, photographs, and information. It may inspire you to build a better house!”[18]

The idea that an architect would willingly send off plans and drawings to anyone seems ridiculous at first. And although it is not known whether anyone took up Raymond’s claim or took the ad seriously, it was one of several ads promoting future (i.e. postwar) uses of copper products. The Revere Copper and Brass Company also enlisted the services of other architects and designers, including R. Buckminster Fuller, Norman Bel Geddes, Louis Kahn, Walter Dorwin Teague, and William Wurster.[19] It is worth noting how Raymond and others were willing to lend their name to a series of print commercials — less than a decade earlier, criticisms of Raymond’s Karuizawa House’s summarily invoked the names “Wright” and “Corbusier.”[20] It is reasonable to believe that the two masters would never lend their plans and drawings to anyone requesting them.

(Top) Konrad Wachsmann, “Building Construction” U.S. Patent No. 2,491,882 (Filed June 22, 1945); (Bottom)  Raymond, “Airplane Hangar” U.S. Patent No. 2,590,464 (Filed March 2, 1946)

A cursory examination of some postwar transactions show a similar willingness to deal with corporate interests. Both Antonin Raymond and Konrad Wachsmann were busy securing patents for airplane hangars and trying to solicit bids from the United States Army Air Force. On June 22, 1945, Wachsmann filed a patent for his “Building Construction,” the famous space frame he developed for the United States Air Force. The application states that the frame “relates to building construction and is more especially concerned with portable structural wall units primarily designed for buildings of huge proportions, as for instance for hangars capable of housing dozens or hundreds of large planes, but applicable also to warehouses, auditoriums and other types of building constructions.”[21]  Wachsmann did not, however, reserve all the rights to the space patent: he assigned one-fourth interests each to Albert and Charles Wohlstetter.[22] Likewise, on March 2, 1946, Antonin Raymond filed a patent for an “Airplane Hangar,” an invention that “relates generally to buildings and more particularly to airplane hangars.”[23] Raymond assigned all interests in his hangar to the National Steel Corporation of Delaware.[24] And though Wachsmann only assigned one-half of his interests to the Wohlstetters, he and Walter Gropius did assign all their legal interest in their packaged home system to The General Panel Corporation.[25]

Konrad Wachsmann and Walter Gropius, “Building Structure” U.S. Patent 2,421,305 (Filed August 10, 1945)

Attribution has a decidedly political function as well. The very instances where Raymond and Wachsmann assigned their interests and their name to particular interests were all in service of the war effort.[26] But a look at one last patent reveals the true nature of this type of attribution. On November 1, 1943, Harvard chemist Louis F. Fieser filed an application for “Incendiary Gels,” his contribution to the war effort that would eventually be known as “napalm.”[27] The patent abstract states that the novelty of Fieser’s invention lies in “the production of new and improved gelled hydrocarbon fuels and gelling agents therefore, for use in incendiary munitions of both the burster and tail-ejector types, in flame throwers, in hand grenades, in fire starters and generally, in any incendiary munition which utilizes a combustible liquid or low-melting solid or gelled fuel.”[28] The heading to the patent abstract not only states that Fieser is the “assignor to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of War,” but the opening paragraph indicates “The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment to me of any royalty thereon.”[29] The sentence is a boilerplate clause that requires inventors to assign their interests to the United States Government particularly for matters of national security of military intelligence.[30] Although Fieser never obtained any royalty for his patents, his application is often quoted for applications concerning similar military technologies. For him, as well as for Antonin Raymond and Konrad Wachsmann, intellectual property law provided a vehicle that recognized their status as authors or inventors.

The above documents reveal some tried and true assumptions about authors and their artistic products. First of all, the correspondence, patent abstracts, as well as magazine advertisements presuppose not only the existence of an artistic work or invention that merits legal protection, but highlight that such work can be attributable to an author or inventor. This means that there are also certain circumstances when a person can suspend legal protection for a work of authorship or invention. For example, an architect can assign rights in a design drawing or building process to a third party such as the United States Government.

But the parrying between Antonin Raymond and Le Corbusier over the Karuizawa House, as well as Raymond’s subsequent involvement with Revere Brass and Copper provide a useful conundrum. In both of these circumstances, an architect is fast and loose with the idea of authorship. As Le Corbusier freely lets Raymond use his letters and drawings regarding the Maison Errázuris, Raymond seems all too willing to let people have drawings of his Louis Stone house. The idea here seems to be one of comfort and power: even if Raymond were to publish and republish drawings of the Karuizawa House as well as the Maison Errázuris, or if he were to send off thousands of copies of the Louis Stone house to a Saturday Evening Post audience, no one’s reputation as an architect would ever be tarnished. Each would still be recognized as the designers of their individual houses, and this despite the fact the architects have evaded some typical legal issues.

[Author's note: This article is based on research completed at the Yale School of Architecture from 2005 to 2007, as well as on papers presented at the University of Virginia in September 2006 and Harvard University in February 2007. This article was also inspired by my MED thesis, completed in May 2007, titled Built to Destroy: Erich Mendelsohn’s, Konrad Wachsmann’s, and Antonin Raymond’s “Typical German and Japanese Test Structures at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. An earlier version of this article appeared in Pidgin 10 (2011)]



[1] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Leonard W. Larabee, et al., ed., (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 149.
[2] Ralph Waldo Emerson and Stephen Emerson Whicher, Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson: an Organic Anthology (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960), 113. On the other hand, Emerson’s “Quotation and Originality” provides a different point of view. There, Emerson writes, “We prize books, and they prize them most who are themselves wise. Our debt to tradition through reading and conversation is so massive, our protest or private addition so rare and insignificant, — and this commonly on the ground of other reading or hearing, — that, in a large sense, one would say there is no pure originality. All minds quote. Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. We quote not only books and proverbs, but arts, sciences, religion, customs, and laws; nay, we quote temples and houses, tables and chairs by imitation.” See “Quotation and Originality” in Letters and Social Aims (J.R. Osgood, 1876): 158.
[3] A further source of ambiguity is evident in the different translations for Walter Benjamin’s seminal 1936 essay. The most oft-quoted is the Harry Zohn version, known to generations of architecture students as “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” A more correct translation of the title (“Das Kunstwerk im Zeitaler siener technischen Reproduzierbarkeit”) is provided in Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings’ volume of Benjamin’s selected writings. There, the essay is titled “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility.”
[4] The United States Code defines a “derivative work” as “a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a ‘derivative work’.” 17 U.S.C. §101.
[5] The Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. §102(a) indicates that “Copyright protection subsists … in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”
[6] See 17 U.S.C. §106(a)(1)(B), et seq.
[7] Fritz Neumeyer, “A World in Itself: Architecture and Technology” in Detlef Mertins, ed. The Presence of Mies (New York: Princeton, 1994), 78.
[8] Ken Tadashi Oshima, Constructed Natures of Modern Architecture in Japan 1920-1940: Yamada Mamoru, Horiguchi Sutemi, and Antonin Raymond, PhD dissertation, Columbia University (2003), 120.
[9] Ibid., p. 209.
[10] Antonin Raymond, “Letter to the Editor,” Architectural Forum 63 (November 1935), 4, quoted in Kurt G.F. Helfrich and Mari Sakamoto Nakahara, “Rediscovering Antonin and Noémi Raymond,” introduction to Kurt G.F. Helfrich and William Whitaker, eds. Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond (New York: Princeton, 2006), 26.

[11] Le Corbusier to Antonin Raymond (Paris, 7 May 1935) in Helfrich and Whitaker, eds. Crafting a Modern World, 332.
[12] A famous example of this are the famous “Chair” lawsuits: the first was a 1929 claim by Hungarian furniture impresario Anton Lorenz against the international furniture company Gebrüder Thonet Aktiengesellschaft (AG); the second, a 1936 claim by Mauser Kommaditgesellschaft (KG) against Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In the first lawsuit, the form of a cantilevered chair was considered evidence of authorship. In the second action, Mies’s attorneys won by claiming that the industrial processes used to manufacture a particular chair were copyrightable and patentable. For a good discussion of the significance of form in furniture design, see Marcel Breuer,, “Metal Furniture and Modern Spatiality” (1928), in Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg, eds. The Weimar Republic Sourcebook (Berkeley: University of California, 1994). For a more detailed discussion of these two lawsuits and their significance, see Otakar Macel, “Avant-Garde Design and the Law: Litigation over the Cantilever Chair,” Journal of Design History Vol. 3, No. 2/3 (1990), 125-143.
[13] In the United States, patent law was established “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries,” U.S. Constitution, Art. I, §8(8) (1796). As opposed to legal frameworks in other countries, patent law in the United States is based on a “first to invent” as opposed to “first to file” system.  In other words, patent protection extends to first-in-time inventions. In the United States, a patent is a right to exclude others from making, selling, offering for sale an inventor’s device. The right to obtain a patent belongs to “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof” 35 U.S.C. §101. The term “process” is defined as an “art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material” 35 U.S.C. §100(b).
[14] U.S. Patent No. 2,282,885 (June 23, 1939).
[15] Ibid. “It is well-known to architects and other skilled in the design and construction of buildings that window constructions in which the sashes are horizontally-moveable offer certain and considerable advantages over the usual vertically-moveable arrangements, and many constructions embodying horizontally-moveable sashes have been proposed. It is significant, however, that none of these proposed structures have been adopted, in spite of the known advantages of the horizontally-moveable sashes, the reason being that no practical construction, which may be simply installed and operated, has yet been proposed.”
[16] Ibid.
[17] Antonin and Noémi Raymond, “Preface” in Architectural Details (Tokyo: Kokusai Kenchiku Kyôtai, 1938) quoted in Helfrich, “Antonin Raymond in America, 1938-1949” in Helfrich and Whitaker, eds. Crafting a Modern World, 47.
[18] Ibid., p. 54.
[19] Each completed a pamphlet to be distributed by Revere: in addition to Raymond writing "A Hillside Built This Home for Revere," other titles in the series (all from 1943) included "Better Homes for Lower Incomes" (Buckminster Fuller), "Tomorrow’s Homes for the Many" (Bel Geddes), "You and Your Neighborhood" (Kahn), "New Homes for Better Living" (Teague), and "A Flexible House for Happier Living" (Wurster). Ibid.
[20] It is likely that if Raymond ever sent away any of his drawings, they would have a copyright notice.
[21] U.S. Patent No. 2,491,882 (June 22, 1945).
[22] Ibid. Albert Wohlstetter was a consultant and senior strategist for the RAND Corporation from 1951 to 1963 and is known today for his theories on nuclear proliferation and mutually-assured destruction. He is also known as a seminal figure in the neoconservative movement. For more about Wohlstetter and his affiliation with design circles as well as his dealings with Meyer Schapiro, see Pamela M. Lee, "Aesthetic Strategist: Albert Wohlstetter, the Cold War, and a Theory of Mid-Century Modernism" October No. 138 (Fall, 2011), 15-36
[23] U.S. Patent No. 2,590,464 (March 2, 1946).
[24] Ibid.
[25] U.S. Patent No. 2,355,192 (May 30, 1942). The principal reason for this was to shield both Wachsmann and Gropius from any personal legal or pecuniary liabilities incurred by the General Panel Corporation. The assigning of all interests to a corporation or business association is fairly commonplace for these reasons. For more about Wachsmann’s and Gropius’ Packaged House System, see Wachsmann, The Turning Point of Building: Structure and Design (New York: Reinhold, 1961 (translation of Wendepunkt in Bauen [Wiesbaden: Krausskopf Verlag, 1959) and Michael Tower, “The Packaged House System (1941-1952)” Perspecta 34 (2003), 20-27.
[26] In 1943, along with Erich Mendelsohn, Raymond and Wachsmann were both employed by the Standard Oil Development Company and the U.S. Army’s Chemical Warfare Service to design “Typical German and Japanese Structures” at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah to test the efficacy of the brand-new AN-M69-X napalm incendiary bomb. For more on this project, see Enrique Ramirez, “Fata Morgana” Thresholds No. 33 Form(alisms) (July 2008), and “Erich Mendelsohn at War” Perspecta 41: Grand Tour (Cambridge, MIT Press, 2008), 83-91. I have also written about this project, albeit in a more interpretative manner in “A Sphinx in Utah’s Desert” <> and “An Ithaca of Sorts” <>.
[27] For a brief overview of Fieser’s involvement, see Ramirez, “The Harvard Candle” <>.
[28] U.S. Patent No. 2,606,107 (November 1, 1943).
[29] Ibid.
[30] The statutory language enabling this type of assignment is as follows: “Applications for patent, patents, or any interest therein, shall be assignable in law by an instrument in writing. The applicant, patentee, or his assigns or legal representatives may in like manner grant and convey an exclusive right under his application for patent, or patents, to the whole or any specified part of the United States. A certificate of acknowledgment under the hand and official seal of a person authorized to administer oaths within the United States, or, in a foreign country, of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States or an officer authorized to administer oaths whose authority is proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, or apostille of an official designated by a foreign country which, by treaty or convention, accords like effect to apostilles of designated officials in the United States, shall be prima facie evidence of the execution of an assignment, grant or conveyance of a patent or application for patent” 35 U.S.C. § 261. Other patents that borrow from Fieser’s application offer similar language. See John A. Southern, Lloyd J. Roth, Francis J. Licata, and Joseph Cunder, “Fuel Compositions and Their Preparation” U.S. Patent No. 2,570,990 (April 26, 1944) and Jerome Goldenson and Leonard Cohen, “Thickener for Hydrocarbon Fuels” U.S. Patent No. 2,769,697 (April 29. 1953).

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